Researcher biography

Katharine Gelber is Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at UQ. She is the former Head of the School of Political Science and International Studies (2019-2023), and is a Professor of Politics and Public Policy. Her research is in the field of freedom of speech, and the regulation of public discourse. She has been awarded several ARC, and other, competitive research grants. In November-December 2017, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Global Freedom of Expression Project, Columbia University, New York. In Dec 2017, she jointly hosted, with Prof Susan Brison, a workshop at the Princeton University Center for Human Values on, 'Free Speech and its Discontents'. In 2014, with Prof Luke McNamara, she was awarded the Mayer journal article prize for the best article in the Australian Journal of Political Science in 2013. In 2011 she was invited by the United Nations to be the Australian Expert Witness at a regional meeting examining States' compliance with the free speech and racial hatred provisions of international law. In 2009 she presented the Mitchell Oration in Adelaide on the topic 'Freedom of Speech and its Limits'. She is the author of three monographs (Free Speech After 9/11, OUP 2016; Speech Matters, UQP, 2011, Speaking Back, John Benjamins, 2002), and three edited books (incl. Free Speech in the Digital Age, OUP 2019).

Kath is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia, and a former President of the Australian Political Studies Association and served on its Executive Committee (2010-2018). She was Chair of the Local Organising Committee for the July 2018 World Congress of the International Political Science Association, Brisbane which brought 2400 political scientists to Brisbane. She is a member of the Editorial Board of the Australian Journal of Politics and History.

Selected publications:


Brison, S and Gelber, K (eds) 2019 Free Speech in the Digital Age, Oxford University Press, New York.

Gelber, K 2016 Free Speech After 9/11, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Gelber, K 2011. Speech Matters: Getting Free Speech Right, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia.

Panzironi, F & Gelber, K (eds) 2012. The Capability Approach: Development Practice and Public Policy in the Asia-Pacific Region, Routledge, London.

Refereed journal articles

Gelber, Katharine 2023 'Free speech, religious freedom and vilification in Australia', Australian Journal of Political Science, online 17 Nov 2023,

Gelber, Katharine and Murphy, M. 2023. 'The Weaponisation of Free Speech under the Morrison Government', Australian Journal of Political Science, doi:

Brennan, K; D Duriesmith, E Fenton and K Gelber 2022 "Gendered Mundanities: Gender Bias in Student Evaluations of Teaching in Political Science", Australian Journal of Political Science (published online 27 Feb 2022),

Bowman, K and Gelber, K 2021 'Responding to Hate Speech: Counter Speech and the University', Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law, 28(3): 248-275.

Gelber, K 2021 'Differentiating Hate Speech: A Systemic Discrimination Approach', Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 24(4): 393-414, DOI: 10.1080/13698230.2019.1576006 (published online 2019).

Gelber, K and O'Sullivan, S 2020 "Cat Got Your Tongue? Free Speech, Democracy and Australia's 'Ag-Gag' Laws", Australian Journal of Political Science, 56(1): 19-34,

Gelber, K 2019 'Norms, Institutions and Freedom of Speech in the US, the UK and Australia', Journal of Public Policy, online 25 June,

Gelber, K 2019 'Terrorist-extremist speech and hate speech: understanding the similarities and differences' Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 22(3), 607-622, doi: 10.1007/s10677-019-10013-x.

Gelber, K 2018 'Incitement to hatred and countering terrorism – policy confusion in the UK and Australia', Parliamentary Affairs 71(1): 28-49,

Gelber, K 2017 'Diagonal Accountability: Freedom of Speech in Australia', Australian Journal of Human Rights 23(2): 203-219. (Published in Special Issue: 'Democracy and Human Rights')

Gelber, K 2017 'Hate Speech – Definitions and Empirical Evidence', Constitutional Commentary 32: 101-111.

Gelber, K & McNamara, L 2016 'Anti-vilification laws and public racism in Australia: mapping the gaps between the harms occasioned and the remedies provided', University of New South Wales Law Journal 39(2): 488-511.

Gelber, K & McNamara, L 2016 'Evidencing the harms of hate speech', Social Identities, 22 (1-3): 324-341. DOI: 10.1080/13504630.2015.1128810.

Book chapters (selected)

Gelber, K 2022 'Free Speech in Australia' in Paula Gerber & Melissa Castan eds., Critical Perspectives on Human Rights Law in Australia Thomson Reuters, Pyrmont: 517-534.

Gelber, K 2021 'Speaking Back', in Adrienne Stone and Frederick Schauer eds., The Oxford Handbook of Freedom of Speech, Oxford University Press, Oxford: 249-265.

Gelber, K 2020. 'Post-memory and Artefacts: The Gelber/Altschul Collection', in N Marczak and K Shields eds. Genocide Perspectives VI: The Process and the Personal Costs of Genocide. Sydney: UTS ePress: 53-68.

Gelber, K 2020 'Capabilities and the Law', in E Chiapperro-Martinetti, S Osmani & M Qizilbash eds The Cambridge Handbook of the Capability Approach Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 643-659.

Gelber, K 2020 'Free Speech Debates in Australia: Contemporary Controversies', in Helen J. Knowles and Brandon T. Metroka eds., Free Speech Theory: Understanding the Controversies, Peter Lang: 187-208.

Gelber, K and Brison, S 2019 'Digital Dualism and the "Speech as Thought" Paradox', in Brison, S and Gelber, K (eds) Free Speech in the Digital Age, Oxford University Press, New York.

Gelber, K & Stone, A 2017 'Constitutions, Gender and Freedom of Expression: the Legal Regulation of Pornography', in Helen Irving ed. Constitutions and Gender, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham: 463-481, DOI: 10.4337/9781784716967.

Gelber, K 2016 'Critical Race Theory and the constitutionality of hate speech regulation', in R Dixon & G Appleby (eds) The Critical Judgments Project: Re-reading Monis v The Queen, Federation Press, Sydney: 88-102.

Areas of research